Drug that could stop the spread of HIV in just ten years is to be made available on the NHS
- PrEp drug to be offered to patients at a greater risk of catching HIV on the NHS
- NHS England will cover the costs of the drug having carried out three-year study
- The Department of Health said local authorities will be given funding from April
A drug which prevents HIV infections is to be made available on the NHS this year in a move to try and eliminate new transmissions of the virus within the decade.
PrEP – or pre-exposure prophylaxis – will be made routinely available to patients deemed to be at greater risk of catching HIV from April.
Celebrities including singer Elton John hailed the decision as ‘the right one’.
PrEP – or pre-exposure prophylaxis – will be made routinely available to patients deemed to be at greater risk of catching HIV from April. A HIV testing kit is pictured above
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We are rolling out PrEP and making it available across the country – with evidence showing it almost completely eradicates the chances of getting HIV. This will benefit tens of thousands of people’s lives, and drive us towards our ambition of zero HIV transmissions in this decade.’
Having HIV was once a ‘death sentence’ and it still has ‘a devastating impact on so many lives across the country’, he said.
NHS England will cover the costs of the drug, having carried out a three-year study involving more than 20,000 people.
The Department of Health said local authorities will be given funding from April, with £16 million to be made available in 2020/21, to commission services in England for the first time to patients.
PrEP involves HIV negative people taking antiretroviral medicine, which work by stopping the virus replicating in the body.
PrEP is already available in Scotland to people who are considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV, and a trial of the drug is taking place in Wales.
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, most recent estimates suggest there were around 103,800 people living with HIV in the UK, and around 7% of those are not aware they are HIV positive.
Celebrities including singer Elton John, pictured above, hailed the decision as ‘the right one’. NHS England will cover the costs of the drug
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